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Myanmar

Travel Tips Myanmar

AIRLINES

International: Major airlines serving Yangon Airport are Myanmar Airways International (8M), Thai International Airways (TG), Silkair (MI), Malaysia Airlines (MH), Air China  (CA), Biman Airways BG), Indian Airlines (IC), Druk Air and Air Mandalay (6T) which operates international flights Yangon – Chiang Mai and vice versa. PB Air is operating flights from Bangkok to Bagan, China Eastern Airlines is flying to Mandalay.

Domestic:  Myanmar Airways (domestic), Air Mandalay (6T), Yangon Airways (HK) and Air Bagan (AB) serve domestic routes. Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways and Air Bagan use new ATR 72 aircraft. All airlines only operate with economy class seats. Luggage allowance is 20 kilos per person - excess luggage can be left in Yangon hotels for collection on return from upcountry. Discovery Indochina guests will usually travel by reliable Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay or Air Bagan ATR-flights.

Domestic Flight Schedule

Domestic air services have improved greatly over recent years. The domestic airlines often change their flight schedules at the very last minute. In such cases, we are forced to adjust the sightseeing program around these changes. We do keep you updated of flight changes prior to arrival to Myanmar.

AIRPORT

Yangon Airport is located 15 km (approx. 30 minutes) to the North of the centre of Yangon and serves both international and domestic services.  Duty free shopping is available within the international airport.

AIRPORT TAX

Departure tax for international flights is US$ 10 payable in US currency. Currently there is no departure tax levied for domestic flights (subject to change without prior notice).                        

ARRIVAL

All visitors are required to have a Myanmar Visa and to complete an arrival/departure card, which is usually distributed during their flight into Yangon. The completed card should be submitted with passport to the immigration officials on arrival at Yangon airport. The departure portion will be torn off and returned to the visitor - it should be retained for presentation upon departure.

CEREMONIES AND FESTIVAL

JAN

Ananda Pagoda Festival in Bagan

MAR

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival in Yangon

MAR

Kaba Aye Pagoda Festival in Yangon

MAR

Pindaya Cave Pagoda Festival in Pindaya

APR

Thingyan Festival (Water Festival) & Myanmar New Yar

JUL

Chin Lone Cane Ball Tournament in Mandalay

SEP – OCT

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival at Inle Lake

05 OCT

Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival 

06 OCT

Thadingyut Festival of Lights (end of Buddhist Lent)

01 - 04 NOV

Fire Balloon Festival in Taunggyi

NOV

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival in Bagan

NOV

Fire Balloon Festival in Taunggyi

NOV

Mahamuni Pagoda Festival in Mandalay

 

All dates are subject to change without prior notice. Various lesser-known festivals are held throughout the country during the entire year.

CLIMATE

Myanmar has a tropical climate with three distinct seasons although the effects of the rainy season vary across the country:

Rainy Season:  June to September
Cold Season:   October to February
Hot Season:    March to May

The best time to visit Myanmar is from the end of October to beginning of May. During this time, a pullover is needed when travelling upcountry as nights can be cold. Yangon is very hot and humid during the hot and rainy season (March to September) and although Yangon and surrounding areas have a lot of rain during summer, upper Myanmar is rather dry the whole year round.

CLOTHING

We recommend bringing light cotton clothes.  Myanmar still has very traditional customs and it is not appropriate to wear shorts, bermudas or miniskirts.  Since shoes and socks have to be removed for all visits to pagodas and temples, we recommend wearing sandals or other slip-on shoes which are easy to put on and take off.  When visiting temples or other religious monuments, visitors should be modestly dressed - it is very important that knees and shoulders are covered and ladies should not wear shorts or bra-less T-shirts in such places. Hats and sunglasses are strongly recommended. Visitors are advised to ignore touts who may approach them to exchange foreign currency, or to sell gems of dubious quality. Such offers, although apparently attractive, are breaking strict laws.

CURRENCY

The Myanmar currency is Kyats (pronounced "chats"). The following notes are in circulation 1000, 500, 200, 100, 90, 50, 45, 20, 15, 10, 5, 1 - also some coins. The official rate of exchange is approximately Kyats 6 to USD 1 and the unofficial rate can go up as far as Kyat 900 to USD 1.  It is however possible to exchange US Dollars to Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC) at the rate of 1 for 1. FECs can then be exchanged at the official rate of approximately Kyats 900 to FEC 1. Please do not change USD into Kyats at the money changer at the airport as the rate is very low

Only EURO Travellers cheques are accepted (no USD travellers cheques). Please note that currencies other than US Dollars and Euros are not usually accepted. It is therefore advisable to bring US Dollars or Euros cash, preferably in small denominations.

CUSTOMS AND FORMALITIES ON ARRIVAL

Regulations are generally relaxed for tourist travelers arriving by air in Yangon. Visitors should have completed immigration and customs declaration forms during the flight and must submit these on arrival. All foreign currency (in excess of US$ 2,000), traveler cheques, jewelry, cameras and other electronic items must be recorded on the customs form and may be checked on departure. No Myanmar currency may be imported or exported.

If an airport arrival transfer has been pre-arranged with us, a Discovery Indochina representative or guide will meet travelers on arrival after airport immigration and customs control points have been passed. In the arrival hall our representative will display a Discovery Indochina sign and/or names of guests or their group for easy recognition.

Duty free allowance is 200 cigarettes and one liter of wine or spirits. Note that export of antiques, Buddha images and gems without an official dealer's receipt, is strictly prohibited. Baggage may be X-rayed or inspected before departure.

Discovery Indochina SIGHTSEEING TOUR POLICY

Major sightseeing highlights of Myanmar include a variety of religious and historic monuments, a rich cultural and artistic heritage, museums and beautiful scenery. Such key elements are naturally included in sightseeing tour itineraries, but Discovery Indochina also seeks out less obvious attractions, such as interesting local markets, festivals (whenever they coincide with travel plans), traditional handicrafts and industries, plus the opportunity to meet local people in the precincts of their own environment. Also included are opportunities to try regional cuisine and to see typical or traditional forms of entertainment. Discovery Indochina includes such extra dimensions to make any visit to Myanmar a richer, more rewarding and more memorable experience.

DRIVING

An international driving license is accepted. Penalties for motorists that hit a pedestrian are extremely severe, regardless of who was at fault. We therefore strongly recommend that visitors to Myanmar do not attempt to drive.

ELECTRICITY

The electric current in Myanmar is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles. Adaptors are provided by most of the hotels.

ENTERTAINMENT

For more Western-style entertainment, there are karaoke bars, discotheques, dancing and live music in some of the hotels in Yangon and Mandalay.

EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES ABROAD

Australia:

22 Arkana Street, Yarralumla, ACT 2600, Canberra (Tel: 62-733 811)

Brazil:

Shis QL 08 Conjunto 04, Casa 05, Lago Sul, 71620-245, Brasilia-DF 

(Tel: 61-248 37 47)

Canada:

85 Range Rd, Apt 902-903, The Sandringham, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8J6, (Tel: 613-232 6434/6446)

France: 

60 R. de Courcelles, 75008 Paris (Tel: 1-42255695)

Germany: 

6th Floor, Zimmerstrasse 56, 10117 Berlin Mitte (Tel: 30-206 1570)

Hong Kong: 

(Tel: 852-2827-7929/9843)

Israel: 

26 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 68011 (Tel: 3-517 0760/0761)

Italy: 

Viale Gioacchino Rossini, No. 18, Int. 2, 1st Floor, 00198 Rome (Tel: 6-854 9374)

Japan: 

8-26, 4-Chome, Kita Shinagawa-Ku, Tokyo 140-0001 

(Tel: 3-3441 9291/9292)

Malaysia: 

No. 10, Jalan Mengkuang, off Jalan Ru, 55000 Kuala Lumpur 

(Tel: 3-4256 0280, 4257 0680)

Singapore: 

15, St. Martin's Drive, Singapore 257-996 (Tel: 735 1672, 735 6576)

South Africa: 

319, Murray Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria (Tel: 12-460 6544, 460 4333)

Switzerland: 

47 Ave. Blanc, 1202 Geneva (Tel: 22-731 7540)

Thailand: 

132 Thanon Sathon Nua, Bangkok 10500 (Tel: 2-233 2237, 2-234 4698)

UK: 

19A Charles St, London W1J 5DX (Tel: 629 6966, 499 8841)

USA: 

2300 'S' Street, NW Washington DC 20008 (Tel: 202-332 9044/5/9)

 

FOOD

Myanmar cuisine uses rice or noodles as staple dishes, usually served with a variety of side dishes: curries with meat or fish, vegetables, salads, soup, condiments, etc. Curries tend to be less chili-hot than those served in Thailand. Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants are also found in major cities, but European cuisine is mostly confined to major hotels at present.

In order to give travelers a true feeling for the country and its diverse regional gastronomic variations, Discovery Indochina Myanmar features interesting local restaurants whenever possible in our itineraries. These are carefully selected, for hygiene as well as gastronomic considerations. In some country areas, however, dining opportunities are still very limited. Travelers are advised against eating from street or market stalls, however tempting these may seem.

GENERAL ADVICE

Use an insect repellant against mosquitoes, especially in upcountry and forested areas. Hat and high-factor block cream are advisable as protection against the hot tropical sun when sightseeing.

A spare pair of glasses, if worn, is also advisable. Useful, as well, is a flashlight, for exploring caves or details of temple interiors, which are often not properly illuminated.

Take plenty of film, as locally available supplies are not always reliable. Photography in airports, railway stations and near any military installation is forbidden. Please use discretion when photographing people, especially with tribal people, who may have superstitions against this. For close-up shots, always ask first.

Begging is not widespread in Myanmar and visitors are requested not to encourage development of this practice by giving money or sweets to children. If travelers wish to contribute to, say a village community, gifts should be directed to the local schoolteacher or headmaster. Contributions can also be arranged through recognized local charity organizations.

HAND PHONES

Note that foreign mobile phones do not work within Myanmar. You can bring your phone into the country, however it will not work.

HANDICRAFTS / SOUVENIRS

Myanmar is particularly renowned for its lacquerware, precious stones and jewellery. Lacquer ware is available most notably in Bagan but also in Mandalay and Yangon. Precious stones and jewellery can be purchased from any of the approved shops and government shops that populate Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and all other major towns and cities. The silk weavers, tapestry maker, carvers of wood, ivory and stone, silversmiths and bronze-casters are largely based in Mandalay.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

No vaccinations are officially required for a visit to Myanmar. Malaria prophylaxis is no longer recommended, but travelers should check with their doctor or a travel immunization clinic regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis. Prescription drugs are not widely available and visitors should bring any required medication with them. If carrying a lot of medicines, it is advisable to have a doctor's letter stating that medicines are required for personal use.  

HOTELS

Accommodation standards in Myanmar still vary widely, especially in quality and (during high season) availability. New and refurbished hotels meeting international standards are available in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach and Ngwe Saung Beach. Discovery Indochina clients will generally receive hotel reservation priority, but Discovery Indochina cannot guarantee specific hotel requests upcountry and reserves the right to substitute accommodation for the best available alternative standard when a first-choice hotel is not available. Clients are advised that accommodation in remote locations can be very basic and simple.

INSURANCE

The extent of insurance coverage in Myanmar varies widely to western norms. It is suggested that visitors consider short-term health and accident policies from your own insurance company prior to leaving home. Local hospital care is basic, any seriously injured tourist will require medical evacuation to either Singapore or Bangkok.  As medical evacuations can be extremely costly, we recommend that you take out a comprehensive insurance policy that will cover the costs of a medical evacuation and subsequent medical care.

LOCAL TIME

GMT + 6 ½ hours.

MARKETS

During your tour through Myanmar you will find many markets of various interest (weekly markets, night markets, fish and vegetable markets, the 5 day rotating market around Lake Inle etc. etc.) Your guide will assure that you will be able to visit as many as possible. Do mention your special interest to your guide.

PASSPORT AND VISA

Visitors to Myanmar must have a valid passport and obtain a 28-Day Tourist Visa from a Myanmar embassy or diplomatic mission abroad. Two application forms and three passport-size photos will be needed. The fee is approximately US$ 20 in local currency. If traveling on a Discovery Indochina inclusive tour in the country, clients may obtain their visa through our office  by supplying the following:

Actual passport
Full name, nationality, sex and occupation of passport holder
Three passport photos
A fee of US$ 25 
For visa procurement in Bangkok allow two working days, longer if national holidays are involved.
The Myanmar government might change visa regulations at short notice; contact Discovery Indochina for the latest information.

POST AND COMMUNICATION

Postal service in Myanmar to date is unreliable; letters and postcards to overseas sometimes do not reach their destinations. Most hotels have IDD lines, but calls are expensive with average costs of a call to Australia, Europe and USA approximately US$ 9 per minute. Public phones that use pre-paid phone cards or callback systems are not available in Myanmar. Limited internet access is available at a small number of hotels and cafes only.

Please note that mobile phones brought into the country are not connectable to international networks such as GSM.

 04 JAN 

Independence Day

12 FEB 

Union Day

02 MAR 

Peasants' Day

13 MAR 

Full-Moon Day of Tabaung

27 MAR

Armed Forces Day

13 APR 

Thingyan Water Festival

14 APR 

Thingyan Water Festival

15 APR 

Thingyan Water Festival

16 APR 

Thingyan Water Festival

17 APR 

Myanmar New Year

01 MAY

May Day

11 MAY 

Full-Moon Day of Kason

09 JUL 

Full-Moon Day of Waso (beginning of Buddhist Lent)

19 JUL 

Martyr's Day

06 OCT 

Thadingyut Festival of Lights (end of Buddhist Lent)

04 NOV

Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights

14 NOV 

National Day

25 DEC 

Christmas Day

 

RESTRICTED AREAS

Large parts of Myanmar are open to foreign visitors. Access to some remote or border areas, however, is still subject to government or military permission. In such situations Discovery Indochina will endeavor to obtain the necessary permits. Allow one month for procurement of such permits.

RELIGION

The great majority of Burmese are Theravada Buddhists. Buddhism still has great influence on the daily lives of Myanmar. Close family ties, respect for elders, reverence for Buddhism and simple native dress are common values practised by most. 89% of the population are Buddhists with the remainder being made up of Christians (5%), Muslims (3%), Hindus (1%), Animist and other (2%). Myanmar accepts full freedom of worship for followers of other religion.

RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS

Myanmar abounds with local festivals.  Most festivals have religious backgrounds and dates are fixed according to the lunar calendar.  Exact dates for some festivals are often determined only a few weeks before the event.  From November to March, visitors may often find themselves, unexpectedly, in the midst of a local festival.  Discovery Indochina tries to include local festivals in client itineraries whenever possible.

ROADS

Myanmar has a fairly wide range of roads, however most of them are in bad need of renovation. Overland drives therefore are very tiresome and take a long time.  The yearly monsoon usually has its input as well and does not make the road condition better.

SHOPPING

Best buys include lacquer wares, silver, wood and stone carvings, hand-woven silk and cotton, gems, "Kalaga" embroidered tapestries, traditional puppets and tribal handicrafts.Jewelry is generally not up to international standards for design and workmanship and buyers should check that 'gold' is not, in fact, gilded silver. All gem and jewelry purchases should be made through a government-authorized dealer, who must issue an official receipt, which is required for export of such items. Bargaining is essential for all souvenir shopping, if travelers are to obtain reasonable prices. Possible price reductions of up to 50% are not uncommon.

TAXIS AND BUS

No taxis in Myanmar use meters and the fare must be negotiated before the beginning of the trip. Public buses are plentiful and offer a cheap albeit crowded alternative to taxis. The challenge is finding out where the bus is going.
TIME
Local time is GMT + 6.5 hours.
TIPPING
Widely practiced, in addition to hotel and restaurant service charges shown on bills. Porters expect approximately 200 Kyat per bag, slightly more at airports. Else, clients are encouraged to tip at their own discretion.

TRADING HOURS

Government Offices are open from 09.30 hours to 16.30 hours, banks from 10.00 hours to 14.00 hours from Monday to Friday. Shops are usually open from 10.00 hours to 17.00 hours, Tuesday to Sunday. Many museums, shops and markets will be closed on Mondays. In addition, most shops will be closed on public holidays.

TRANSPORTATION

Discovery Indochina Ltd., Myanmar provides air-conditioned coaches, mini vans and cars for all tours and transfers inside the country. In remote areas, however, air-conditioned vehicles may not always be available and travelers should be advised that the quality of roads vary throughout Myanmar from reasonable to bad. Due to poor road conditions, long distance overland travel generally takes longer than the traveler might expect, averaging only 40-50 kilometers per hour. The boat trip between Mandalay and Bagan by a local Chinese-built ferry (daily except on Wednesday and Sunday) takes about 8 hours. Depending on the river conditions, it might take longer.

VEHICLES

Discovery Indochina does its utmost to provide the best available cars and buses. As the import of new vehicles as well as spare parts is not allowed or very difficult, most of the tourist cars used are second hand vehicles, sometimes older than 20 years. It regretfully does happen that cars have breakdowns - drivers however are first class champions in getting the shortcomings repaired in no time. 

VOLTAGE

Myanmar has 220-230 Volts AC.  It is advisable to bring a torch/flashlight because power cuts can occur throughout the country.

WATER

It is advisable to drink only bottled or boiled water. 

 

 


 

 

Discovery Indochina Co.,Ltd
63A Cuabac str., Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+844) 37 164 132, Fax: (+844) 37 164 133
Email:
info@discoveryindochina.com
© Copyright  Discovery Indochina Co., Ltd.  All rights reserved